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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Old Hat Jazz Band

(Review by Russell)
A few short years ago a young guitarist turned up at the Chillingham, Newcastle looking to sit in at Dave Weisser’s now legendary jazz workshop (See photo circa 2008 – Ed.). Quiet, perhaps shy, possibly a sixth form student, ‘James’ (the surname then unknown, guardedly unknown) got up and joined the house band. Trumpeter Weisser and long-time associate Barry Ascroft (piano) welcome all-comers and ‘James’ took his chance, reading the charts, taking a solo, a new face on the scene. Some time later James went to London, end of story. Not quite…
The shy young man from the Tyne Valley recently returned to the region as a member of the band Glasshopper to play a gig at the Bridge Hotel. Last week James Kitchman – yes, the same ‘James’ first heard at the Chillingham – played a gig at this year’s BBC Proms! Tuesday evening’s BBC Proms Extra Lates programme strand (BBC Radio 3, 10:00pm) was recorded on 28th July in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall featuring jazz and poetry. 
The Old Hat Jazz Band – young musicians playing ‘old hat’ jazz – includes in its ranks one James Kitchman. The band, a quintet, played all-original material inspired by a love of 1920s jazz. Their set was interspersed with readings by Kim Moore from her new collection of poetry. Until recently Moore supported her writing by working in schools as a peripatetic brass instrument teacher.
The programme of three-quarters of an hour duration was a delight from start to finish. It is available on BBC iPlayer for the next three weeks or so. Highly recommended.
Note to the aspiring musician: sitting-in at Dave Weisser’s Take it to the Bridge session – weekly, Wednesdays, now at Jazz Co-op HQ, the Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle – is a good career move!
Russell
Old Hat Jazz Band: Elizabeth Excell (drums), Mike Soper (trumpet), William Scott (clarinet), James Kitchman (guitar) & Louis Thomas (bass)

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